Science in the Sum­mer pro­gram hits Hor­sham

The Willow Grove Guide - - FRONT PAGE - By Caitlin Burns

cburns@mont­gomerynews.com Stu­dents stamped their fin­ger­prints and ex­plored the world of foren­sics June 24 through 27 when “Science in the Sum­mer” vis­ited Hor­sham Li­brary on Baby­lon Road.

The pro­gram, spon­sored by Glax­oSmithK­line and The Franklin In­sti­tute, gives stu­dents an op­por­tu­nity to learn science in a fun and hands-on way. This year Mont­gomery County li­braries are host­ing the ge­net­ics theme.

“This class is fun be­cause they get to make some­thing tan­gi­ble each day,” Chil­dren’s Li­brar­ian El­lyn Bren­ner said. “It’s def­i­nitely one of the pop­u­lar pro­grams of the sum­mer. Ev­ery year it’s some­thing chil­dren come back to.”

Ev­ery year the li­brary hosts “Science in the Sum­mer” and each year the classes are filled. Bren­ner said the pro­gram is so pop­u­lar the li­brary has a lot­tery af­ter the May regis­tra­tion pe­riod to se­lect what stu­dents will fill the 16 seats in each class. Cur­rently the li­brary hosts two af­ter­noon pro­grams.

“It’s fun,” 8-year-old Molly Wal­trich said. This is her first year at­tend­ing Science in the Sum­mer with her brother. Molly said while she en­joys science, the pro­gram of­fers a fun way to learn. “I like science be­cause ev­ery day we learn some­thing new.”

As part of the ge­net­ics pro­gram, stu­dents con­ducted ex­per­i­ments in or­der to find who took the miss­ing li­brary book and to see how hered­i­tary traits are passed from par­ents to off­spring. Ad­di­tion­ally, stu­dents learned how to take their fin­ger­prints, ex­tract D1A from fruit and test ink for chem­i­cals.

“This pro­gram ex­poses stu­dents at an early age to science con­cepts and science facts with the hope that in the fu­ture they will pur­sue science,” in­struc­tor Michael Podol­sky said. “I en­joy this pro­gram be­cause it helps them con­nect with their back­ground. They make a per­sonal con­nec­tion. They can ex­am­ine their own traits and look at their par­ents to see why they have them. [Ad­di­tion­ally] I re­ally like the way the ex­per­i­ments were de­vel­oped.”

Podol­sky said the ex­per­i­ments stu­dents do in the ge­net­ics pro­gram are a good foun­da­tion to build off of if they pur­sue more in­for­ma­tion. He ad­di­tion­ally men­tioned that the pro­gram is a great way to en­cour­age stu­dents to use the li­brary as a re­source.

“It’s im­por­tant to get stu­dents in here to use the li­brary,” Podol­sky said. “We want the stu­dents to come back and use the li­brary.”

This is the 27th year Glax­oSmithK­line has spon­sored “Science in the Sum­mer.” There are 128 li­braries across the re­gion that par­tic­i­pate in the pro­gram, mak­ing it ac­ces­si­ble to nearly 5,000 stu­dents each year. Since its in­cep­tion, Glax­oSmithK­line es­ti­mates 116,000 stu­dents have par­tic­i­pated in the pro­gram.

Gus Vaysman mounts his DNA dou­ble-he­lix on a base cut from a piece of pipe in­su­la­tion.

Sean Yi places his piece of chro­matog­ra­phy pa­per onto a towel as he pre­pares to com­pare his sam­ple to oth­ers in the class.

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